[Ed. note: each month we re-run Daykeeper founder Maya del Mar’s profound and poetic take on the appropriate sun sign.]
During the passage of the sun through the sign of Cancer we are extraordinarily open to our inner selves, to our own depths, to our own connections with the universe. The vulnerability of this state increases our need for security, and we find ourselves attending to those aspects of our lives which center in our own hearth—our inner child, our family, our domestic lives, our homes, our businesses—those things which relate to creating a stable base, those situations in which we find safety and comfort.
The Sun enters the sign of Cancer at Summer Solstice. This is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. At that moment the days begin to shorten, the night force takes over, and we begin our six-month journey of gradually embracing the darkness, which climaxes at winter solstice on December 21.
Like the night to which she introduces us, the forces of Cancer are mysterious. They are ruled by the Moon, the Goddess of the Night, who brings her waxing and waning lanterns to guide us through the dark, through the murky unconscious, through the watery depths of feeling.
In Gemini we made connections with every passing event, as we restlessly kept ourselves in motion, learning about the world, exploring. Now in Cancer it is time to center ourselves, to turn within and learn who we are and what we need, to nurture our inner child and create a safe home for it. The darkness of the subconscious is our real staging ground for life, and we must develop lines of support to anchor ourselves to its vastness, while at the same time maintaining fluid passageways for growth, for change, and for movement to new levels.
In Aries, we brought the seed of spirit to earth, in Taurus we multiplied the seeds, in Gemini the air swept them up to disperse them, and now in Cancer each seed will find its proper spot in which to put down strong roots.
It is most appropriate that we plant our gardens by the moon, which rules Cancer. The moon fluctuates within its monthly cycle, and also is connected with the daily fluctuations of tidal waters throughout the world. Underlying this fluctuation, which may seem capricious if we don’t pay attention to life’s rhythms, there are regular cycles and predictability. The energy of Cancer, similarly, is a fluctuating movement—going within to deep sources and then moving out to express those depths in the world, ever shifting as do the ocean currents. But like the moon Cancer has its inner predictability, and is accountable to its own rhythms.
Cancer rules containers of all kinds, including the womb, where young life is nourished, and the home, where families are nourished. It rules gestation, that vulnerable time when an embryo is being formed deep within layers of protection.
Cancer is associated with bodies of fluid, such as lakes and amniotic sacs. It knows. It knows that water, which symbolizes emotions in astrology, is the essential matrix of life, and that feelings are tender and vulnerable and must be protected, just as the growing fetus must be protected. It knows intimately about growth, because it carries the growth process within itself. And growth, too, must be protected and attended to so that the fledgling is strong and healthy.
A fine example of a Cancer sun person who arose from the depths of her own isolation, her own inner life, to forge new mental and emotional connections with the world was Helen Keller. She grew up blind, but came to light the way for the effective teaching of blind and deaf children, based on her personal experience.
Nelson Mandela is another Cancerian who emerged from years of isolation to lead his people and his nation towards his vision of justice for all people.
Ultimately, Cancer helps others to understand that we are all one family. Advice columnists Abigail van Buren and Ann Landers were Cancer twins who pulled people out of their isolation. Princess Diana felt that every person counted equally, and the whole world mourned her death.
All of these people show Cancer’s concern with the personal, with daily life, with individuals, as well as Cancer’s effective nurturing ability. Cancer’s special challenge is to draw from the universal to express the personal, and through the gift of that unique self, to uplift others. In Cancer, practicality and compassion combine to produce true helpfulness.
The United States is a Cancer sun country. We are an emotionally caring people to whom security, comfort, and self-defense are important. We’ve forgotten that nourishing the daily lives and growth of all our people is our purpose. We’ve forgotten that supporting the healthy development of all of our children—in action not words—is the source of our nation’s strength. We’ve forgotten our links to earth—the source of our abundance. And we’ve forgotten that everything flows from Great Spirit.
Yes, Cancer is deeply emotional. I sit here, trying to write, feeling our cruelty to one another, our raping of the earth, our disregard of spirit and fellowship, and I find tears streaming down my face. And I’m frustrated by my inarticulateness.
Perhaps as a nation we have an inarticulateness about our true purpose. This may be a reason for our TV and media gullibility—we are willing to let others “who know how” speak for us.
Perhaps it is time to dig into our hearts and souls and learn to speak for ourselves, to renew our connections with source, and to create a world which truly nourishes each of us.